Newly engaged Lisa Faulkner has described how the bosses at MasterChef barred her from working in professional kitchens when she won the TV contest.
After winning the celebrity special in 2010, the actress knew she wanted to make a career switch to cooking. But the show’s producers were having none of it, and insisted she stay away from kitchens for six months.
Lisa made the revelation on Kate Thornton’s new podcast, White Wine Question Time, in response to a question about what secrets the celebrity guests have had to keep.
“They said it would be really weird if you went into a kitchen and started working while you’re on telly,” Lisa said. “People would ask why are you doing it. So I was like: ‘OK, fine’.
“But now I think, gosh! I’m sure the press finds out who wins, and it doesn’t matter. They’re not going to ruin it!”
Lisa, who met future husband and celebrity chef John Torode on the show, says she wasted no time after the last show aired.
“As soon as I’d won – I think probably about a week after – I was in a kitchen. But I did start off doing the rubbish jobs, because nobody trusts you. They think, ‘Oh yeah, you’re on the telly and now you think you’re gonna be a cook. Yeah, yeah.’
“So I’d just do a day a week, and do two services. And I would do anything. I’d clean the pots, I’d clear out the fridge. I’d pick the herbs… Until I was eventually allowed onto larder, where I was allowed to do something. But I had to wash the spinach and pick the herbs and brush the mushrooms before I was allowed to.”
Lisa described how the actual day she won the show was a short-lived celebration. She says they were all ushered into a back room soon after the results were filmed.
“The producer came in and she said, ‘Right, it’s great that you’ve won. But I just need you to know that you cannot tell anybody.’
“And I said: OK, of course. And she said, ‘No, no, no: ANYBODY. I mean family members, friends….’ And she went: ‘We will KNOW if you tell anybody’.”
Lisa says she was so terrified by the warnings that she didn’t even tell her own dad. As her fiancé would say: Crikey!